Snippets of July

July 29, 2015

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Blackberry pie oh me oh my, and what Detroit Lake (aka Detroit Pond) looks like during a crazy drought.

July is on its way out, and I can't say I'm sad. We had a short burst of cooler weather over the weekend, and it has me aching for fall. Is it fall yet? Is it fall yet?

When I was a kid, this was the time of year that I'd start panicking about the end of summer. It's not that I didn't like school, but rather, I'm not super fond of transitions. It was hard to wrap my mind around volleyball practice, and homework, and waking up early every morning when it was still so beautiful outside.

Nowadays, I get nostalgic about the end of summer. Sometimes I buy myself school knitting supplies or start a new big project. This year, I'd simply like to finish one of the many projects I started back when the babe was still kickin' around in the womb. But, for now, I'm trying my best not to wish these ridiculously hot, lazy days away as soon as possible.

Baby Knits

July 21, 2015

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I thought about the fact that she was due in spring, and would be spending her first several months of life in the hot summer heat, but I still wanted to make her a few things, and since my sewing skills have yet to be developed, I took to the knitting needles. Fortunately, most of the garments I've made for her are too big, so they aren't necessarily wasted. If she doesn't grow too fast, she might be able to wear them this upcoming fall and winter. Here are a few of the knits I made for her and how they're working for us so far:

1. VANILLA SOAKER
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I made several of these soakers, but never used them in the manner they were intended because we didn't start cloth diapering until she was 12 weeks old. I used them more as pants, and as an extra layer of protection over her disposable diapers in the early months. The newborn size doesn't fit very well over the cloth diapers we use on her now, so they're destined for early retirement in the storage bins. I may still make a few more in a larger size because I think they're really cute, but I wish I had only made one or two rather than five. It's a great way to use up leftover wool, though!

2. ELIZABETH ELAINE DRESS
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I tend to be practical with her clothing, choosing colors and patterns that are unisex so they can be used for future kids, but I had to make a pretty dress just for her. It's still way too big (though it doesn't look bad in the photo), but hopefully it will fit well this fall.

3. PIXIE HAT
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I love this hat. It was really simple to make, and a great pattern for using up leftovers, but this kid hates hats. You can actually see her face turning red in the photo because she's getting upset.

4. BABY SOPHISTICATE CARDIGAN
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This will make a really great piece in winter if: A. We actually get a respectably cold winter this year, and B. The arms aren't too long.

Gardening and Blogging

July 18, 2015

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I talk about my garden often here, and the weather too. The two go hand-in-hand, I think, because the more time I spend in my garden, the more I consequently notice the extremes in temperature, the rainy days, the untimely seasonal shifts and the nightly lows. I can recall for you what I remember of the weather back in 2009, the first year Matt and I took shovel to soil and grew our first garden. That summer, we had at least two major thunderstorms. One of which was particularly memorable because it came out of nowhere. The sky had been clear blue, not a cloud in sight, and we had been out planting our somewhat sad, leggy heirloom tomatoes seedlings.

Images taken back in 2009.
Suddenly our neighbor appeared out of nowhere to warn us of a bad storm coming our way. I can recall that I looked up at the sky, and thought, Huh? Is this a joke? There was nothing but blue sky and bright sunshine above us. I had to really squint my eyes to make out the ominous clouds coming towards us in the distance, but sure enough, shortly after my neighbor left, I began to feel the breeze pick up speed and the air cool rapidly around me.

It took a moment to buy into the reality of the situation, but we eventually, and somewhat reluctantly, began collecting our tools. We actually tried to cover our tomato seedlings with little plastic cups, which led to a mad scramble to retrieve said cups once the wind picked up. We barely made it to shelter before the black clouds had completely taken over the sky. I remember parking my lawn chair down next to Matt's in the doorway of the garage with just my feet dangling out in the rain, beer in hand, soaking up nature's performance with the bending, dancing trees, the pouring rain and the booming thunder.

The Plants Survived the Rains
Soggy tomato plants from 2010.
I can tell you in 2010 it rained all June, and by the time our tomatoes finally ripened in September, they were already showing signs of blight. I can tell you that the year after, 2011, was a good tomato year. It was a good year for container gardening in general, and I know this because I remember teaching myself to knit every day on the back patio amongst my growing vegetables and flower pots during the months and weeks before our wedding day, which, since we’re on the subject, was a beautiful 90 degrees – one of the warmer late summer days of the year.

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This year will stick out, too. The year Ella was born. The year we had no winter, no rain. Part of me remembers some of these details about the weather simply because they were memorable. But I know myself. I know I have a terrible memory, and that the real reason the details remain sharp is because I garden, and because I write about and photograph my endeavors with the soil. It seems like such a simple thing, really, but the memories and associations that come from planting and harvesting and eating garden food are important to me. They remind me why blogging matters so much to me, and why I want to make more of an effort to keep my presence here alive.

I know some of you have been wondering and asking if I'm still around because I haven't posted as much in the past year or so. The answer is yes - this little space of mine is too important to abandon. For those of you that still read, thanks for stickin' around. I might not be as frequent here as I once was, but I'll try to do better. And for those of you who want more frequent updates, I'm pretty active on Instagram these days, so please come say hi.

From Strawberries to Cherry Tomatoes

July 14, 2015

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After weeks and weeks of brutally hot summer heat, we're finally getting a much needed break. It actually rained two night's ago, which shouldn't be a thing here in Oregon, but this year, it totally is.

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The change in weather and the early ripening tomatoes have me dreaming of fall. Are we there yet? But there's still so much summer to be had. So much more harvesting, pickling and playing in the sun. I'm trying not to wish it all away so quickly, but I'm so over this heat.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods? Are you seeing ripe tomatoes yet?